Rob is serving a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the West Indies. This blog will contain his letters home. He is doing a great work, and would love to hear from you!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Rob with his new companion. Just kidding. However, Rob does have a new companion. The goat just likes to follow them around. In my email, I sent thoughts on my "scripture of the week," 1 Nephi 1:20. Here is his response: "LOL. So funny that you mention that scripture because every time I start reading through the Book of Mormon with an investigator, I ALWAYS point that out (the ending of verse 20). I love how Nephi put that, how we know that we can become so much stronger and have Chrsit deliver us in all that we do if we can just rely on Him - or in other words have faith! haha. Sorry. I never thought I'd be that guy that gets all scriptural all the time. It's funny, cuz EVERYTHING out here relates to the scriptures, it seems like now. haha. Guess that's what happens when all you do is focus on the gospel. Anyway, I'm almost done with Jesus the Christ. Learning something new every day! It's like God hooks your brain up to a machine and just starts cranking information into it. Lol. Mission miracles are real. My new companion is rad. He's from Spanish Fork, Utah, and his name is Elder Sandbakken (Norwegian last name), so naturally we get along just fine. He's big into science and space exploration, but he's really cool. Looking forward to serving with him. Just need to break him out of his shell and get him to feel more comfortable talking with investigators and such. He's teaching me how to juggle. bahaha. And teaching me about Einstein's theory of relativity? I don't think I have any of that right, but yeah, pretty interesting. And Elder Sandbakken can cook (hallelujah!). Apparently we'll be watching conference at the church. Our investigator Jillian (the one with the sick kid) is getting baptized not this week, not next week, but the week after, hopefully. She bore her testimony on Sunday (only if I went up with her, cuz she was nervous) and started tearing up talking about her life struggle and such. Afterwards a member got up and gave her a big hug and she made a lot of friends at church. Gordon B. Hinckley said the three things a new convert needs are a friend, a calling, and to be nourished by the good word of God. So hopefully we can provide that for her. Gave her son a blessing a couple days ago. He was kinda squirming around, so I had to make it short, but I'm hoping the Lord got the message and He'll work some of His magic in the kid. I know He will just want the kid to be OK. Regarding the weather: Yeah, the heat has been intense! Plus my bike tire blew out, so for a day we had to walk in it with the sun at noon day :P. It's funny cuz even the Bajans are like, You shouldn't be out in this heat! haha! They don't understand the Lord has my back ;). O, and I got to burn my tie on the 25th. It was like the ugliest tie ever, so I saved it for that very reason. bahaha. Anyway, hope all is well back home Love you guys. Just know I'm getting better at this whole missionary thing every day, and keep your minds open on a monkey. Baxter will get along with him just fine. Tell Baxter he's still my favorite, and that I miss him and love him and can't wait to come back and spoil him to death by letting him have my man cave."
The burning of the tie on September 25th commemorates one quarter of the mission done. Who started this? And what do they burn when it's half over?

Monday, September 21, 2015

"An army of monkeys"

The caption on this picture was, "Found an army of monkeys yesterday. Haha (I'm totally bringing one home with me):D" Other than that, Rob's update this week is spectacular. I asked him about Jace, the little boy with health issues, and his mother Jill. Rob began with answers to my questions: "Jace is 4 years old; we haven't given him a blessing quite as yet, but we will this upcoming Sunday. Jill actually came to church on Sunday! :O Pretty cool. We've set a baptismal date with her, so we'll see how it goes. It was funny, in gospel principles class this lady was like trying to start an argument and debate in class saying "if God is so equal and fair why does He separate us into 3 kingdoms!?" I'm sitting there with my face in my palm thinking "Great. Well, we're never gonna see Jill again. Thanks a lot, you Darrell." But Jill was whispering to us and was like "She just doesn't understand what you are trying to say I think" and so she wanted to throw in her 2 cents. So I told the teacher Jill has a comment to make and Jill said, "It's like a job, either you can do really good and work hard to progress at your job (celestial), stay stagnant at your job and stay at the same position forever (terrestrial), or do a terrible job at work and get fired (telestial)." And the lady who started it was just like, "O, ok. That makes sense." It was so rad!!! haha She totally put it into perspective for this other girl and in turn everyone was like, thanks for your comment that was really good! Made her feel welcome and knowing that her opinion is valued. It was a total tender mercy! It was kind of cool, President Herrington did interviews this week and just like everybody else, I had to do a role play with him on how to introduce the Book of Mormon in my teaching. After I was done, he said that it was perfect and that he wants me to use that exact same format in my next district meeting lesson :P. Kinda cool to see at least I'm doing something right. Haha. Anyway, transfers are here, and Kuru is gonna be training in Oistins while I train another greenie here in Christ Church. So he'll still be in my district, I just won't see him every day. Apparently President Herrington thinks Kuru is ready. My greenie is from Spanish Fork, Utah. Just trying to make sure he gets trained right but still has fun in the process, because as Elder Cornish said "If you aren't having fun you're not doing it right." Wise man. lol. O ya! HOWS BAXTER!? I miss him so so so so much! Tell him he's a champion. Poor Baxter he never gets enough attention ;) Anyways, things here are good. We met a 70-year-old lady who must weigh around 500lbs and her blind husband who can't weigh over 100lbs. They told us they want to be baptized. I'm excited for them, but it's gonna take awhile I think because they take a while to catch on to what we're saying. Like, I'll say "So in order to live with God again we need to be baptized, how do you think you can live with God again?" And shell be like "...I don't know." haha I'm like *face palm*, but she'll catch on eventually. Just gotta keep working with her slowly. The work seems to be getting easier. As in, I'm not freaking out in lessons as much, thinking to myself, "I hope they don't give me a question I can't answer." I feel much more confident in what I'm teaching, which is nice. I've never seen the Lord working so strongly in my life before. It's a very cool experience to know almost of a surety that He's here with me and that he does work miracles even today. I know I shouldn't get too comfortable though because when I stop progressing it means I'll be in damnation. That's one thing I've learned, is to never stay stagnant. The Lord doesn't like it when we sit in one place for too long. We should be constantly learning and striving to be better. There's always something to work on, and that's something that I never really could grasp back home. But with the closeness of the Spirit in my life these days it's very apparent to me that it's an important task for Him. It's funny, I remember Matt Boles telling me before I left, "It sucks, because now that I KNOW the gospel is true there's no turning back." In other words, I can't live in ignorance anymore because I've found the truth, so now I'm obliged to live by it. haha. Tell Matt I now get what he meant when he said that and I feel his pain. LOL. hope everything is going well back home and that Baxter is getting the attention he needs ;)" Rob also responded to the news that his friend Dylan is planning on going on a mission: "That's so rad to see that Dylan is putting in his papers! I'm excited to see where he goes. Tell him I'm stoked for him and it's a decision he'll never regret! I know a lot of people will tell him that, but until you experience it for yourself, it's hard to understand the magnitude of it all. It's like trying to explain the Spirit to someone who has never heard the words Jesus Christ before. Just gotta experience it for yourself." Regarding the weather: "I thought it was gonna be constant rain, but it turns out it turns off and on like a light switch. Haha. But I guess we're just entering the rainy season? I don't know. Everyone had a different opinion. I'm pretty sure nobody knows what's going on with the weather. I just know this week has been ridiculously hot and wet. Hope all is well. Love you guys, and as always, tell Baxter he's the light of my life and that I miss him the most! Haha! Happy P-day!"

Monday, September 14, 2015

"Rasta man no fly on iron bird"

Rob promised pictures this week, and indeed we did receive this photo of a random street contact, with the caption, "Rasta man no fly on iron bird!" It seems Rastafarians don't embrace airplane travel. Here are some of Rob's notes from this week's emails: "Things here are good! Just pushing the work forward! Found a cool scripture the other day that helps me relay Jesus Christ as the creator of this world. Hebrews 1:1-3 and John 1:1-3, 14, help when trying to explain that Jesus was the God of the Old Testament. Also 1 Corinthians 10:1-4 and another one I can't remember. lol. Ya, it's been that kind of week. Kinda cool learning experience, though. It's pretty amazing how much your sureness of the gospel relies so much on how you teach. I mean, it makes sense. If you don't fully believe in it then why would anyone you're teaching want to learn from you? Elder Dye said something in zone meeting last week that was really cool, 'The only thing more contagious than a good attitude is a bad one.' We have to be excited about this gospel, otherwise it's gonna come off as a chore or something we don't really care all that much about." Roger asked him about the weather in Barbados. He responded, "Oh boy, the temperature... don't even get me started. One minute you're soaked in rain, the next you're soaked in sweat. Half the time I can't even tell what's soaking my shirts more by the time the day is done. haha. It's not too bad though, like I am getting used to it finally. The other day we were getting some food inside a SUPER air conditioned room and by the time I got done eating I was like FREEZING. haha. I was like, 'this is what it's gonna feel like when I go back home, isn't it? Just cold every night for the first 2-3 months.' The Bajans find it funny." Regarding one of his contacts, he wrote, "We ran into a girl the other night after a lesson fell through and she has a child that was born with a rare version of a rare disease, and her son can't eat any solids. In fact, the only thing he can eat is baby formula, but only the powder kind, because the pre-mixed liquid is too acidic. I guess they just stopped selling the powder here in Barbados, so she's been having a very hard time. We had a really good lesson about the atonement and how through Jesus Christ anything is possible, but it depends on her faith. So we're going to give the kid a blessing in the near future and hopefully get her to come close to Christ so her son can live a healthy, normal life. If you could mention him in your prayers that would be great. His name is Jace and the mom's name is Jill. Hope everything is going well back home. Tell the dogs I miss them and that I'll be back for them soon! Poor dogs!!!! They never receive enough attention."

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Trucking along in Barbados

No pictures in the blog this week, since I am writing remotely on my iPad and can't figure out how to get saved pictures out of iPhoto. Still, I wanted to share his emails from Monday. Roger gave a spotlight on Rob in church last Sunday, so Rob wrote: "That's cool you got to talk in sacrament meeting. Hopefully you made me look like a stud ;) haha. Yeah, we actually played cricket today for P-day with everyone. It was fun. One thing I learned is that sometimes it's more important to block the wickets than try and slam it out of the park. haha. We found a bass guitar in a shop today. It was so cool! Of course I had to play a little bit but I didn't waste too much time on it. Oh ya, I told mom already but I thought you should know too, I had to buy some pants today cuz mine were all ripping. So if money got taken off the card that's why. Yeah, mom didn't really send me too much bashing material -____- kinda disappointed because I know if she would hook me up with some juicy stuff then I could totally wreck every Bible basher that passes by. lol." Rob had asked me to send him some "deep doctrine" so he could use it in discussions with some of the Bajan Bible authorities he runs into. I sent him a couple of Ensign articles via snail mail, but wrote to tell him he doesn't need deep doctrine, he just needs to stay close to the Spirit and continue to seek to know Christ by reading the scriptures. In response, he wrote: " lol That's a terrible answer! But ok, it's probably for the best. I've been tending to act a little smug this week on my doctrinal knowledge and I think its pushing people away more than its bringing them into the gospel, so it's probably best I lay off of it for awhile haha ;) Been doing ok here, just trying to fufill my purpose. lol I got a complaint that my pants were falling down at church on sunday >.> Oops. So I'm gonna start wearing suspenders (mission president approved it). Hopefully that'll fix my problem. But nothing too exciting in terms of investigators. We're seeing this girl named Leanne so hopefully that goes well. This week has kinda been a flop as far as getting the work done is concerned, but I know I just need to keep trucking forward and I'll see success. Elder Cornish of the 70 came and taught our zone and expressed the importance of member lessons, so if I have any advice for you it's to help your missionaries teach lessons! Helps the investigator feel much more comfortable :P Tell Lyla I can smell her from Barbados and tell Baxter I'll be home soon <3<3"